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Platini Asks EU to Abet Champions League Reforms
Reuters, September 19th, 2007 3:30PM

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Speaking of Platini, the UEFA President on Wednesday called on the European Union to support him in his attempt to reform the Champions League, warning regulators that clubs such as Manchester United and Liverpool represent "a serious threat" to the future of European soccer. Reuters intercepted a letter addressed to the EU's 27 leaders, in which Platini asked for their help in protecting the sport from "a distortion."

The "distortion" he's referring to is "the malign and ever-present influence of money," according to the letter. Platini wants to grant a Champions League spot to the winners of each European league's domestic cup, but his proposal was vehemently rejected by G14, a consortium representing the interests of Europe's top clubs, like Manchester United, Barcelona and AC Milan. In an interview, UEFA spokesman William Gaillard singled out United and Liverpool as being the driving force behind G14's opposition. He said these clubs were only looking at the financial risk the reform poses to their big money investors "and not the sporting merits."

Champions League qualification is certainly lucrative business -- not just for the money clubs receive upon entry, but also TV and ticket revenue plus the merchandising and marketing windfall that results from qualification for the prestigious tournament. It's no surprise the top clubs in Europe's toughest leagues want to preserve the easiest possible entry into the competition.

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